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2015 NFL Draft Primer: Philadelphia Eagles

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Team needs: Offensive line, Safety, Cornerback, Defensive End, Wide Receiver

Eagles’ selections

Round 1- 20th overall

Round 2- 52nd overall

Round 3- 84th overall

Round 4- 113th overall

Round 5- 145th overall

Round 5- 156th overall

Round 6- 196th overall

Round 7- 238th overall

Good fits early:

Marcus Mariota: Of course, when it comes to Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles, there might not be a better fit in the draft than Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota. Mariota knows what Kelly wants in a quarterback, and the learning curve would be much smaller for him in Philadelphia than it would be anywhere else in the league. While some like NFL Network’s Brian Baldinger believe Mariota could slide to the Eagles at 20, he’s likely a Top 10 pick, and the question will be whether or not Kelly is willing to give up the resources required to trade up that high to pick him.

Randy Gregory: From a talent prospective, this would be a no-brainer selection. Randy Gregory was a consensus Top-10 pick who may have even gone in the Top-5 until we learned that he failed a drug test at the NFL combine. If the failed drug test wasn’t enough of a concern, Gregory’s comments about his marijuana use and his inability to stay away from marijuana make him a very difficult guy to select. It’s possible Gregory’s immense talent will be too much for the Eagles to pass on, despite his love for the sticky icky.

 

Dorial Green-Beckham: While Gregory might be the guy who falls to Philadelphia at 20, Dorial Green-Beckham might be the reach worth reaching for. Green-Beckham is the kind of wild card that wouldn’t shock people as much as it would have before seeing the rest of Philadelphia’s Kelly-run offseason, but it would be a surprise to see him go as high as 20 considering his character concerns. There are some who have likely taken Green-Beckham off their draft boards completely, while others believe he could be the best player in the entire draft. For a team with Jordan Matthews and Riley Cooper as their best receiving options, Green-Beckham might not be a crazy pick at 20.

 

Don’t be surprised if the Eagles don’t trade up for Mariota. There are two things that have been speculated upon to the point they’ve almost been reported as fact when it comes the 2015 NFL draft. “The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will select Jameis Winston number one overall,” and “Chip Kelly will do anything to land Marcus Mariota.” While the first may very well come true, it seems the latter may be more unlikely. While Kelly is clearly comfortable making risky moves, it’s hard to argue that giving up the kind of resources required to move into the top-10 would be anything short of foolish.

 

Kelly would also have an interesting situation in the locker room if he were to trade newly acquired Sam Bradford as has recently been speculated. There was a lot of talk about Bradford helping the Eagles land his college teammate DeMarco Murray, and trading Bradford after using him to lure Murray to town, could complicate things with their new tailback as well.

 

Don’t be surprised if the Eagles who signed Murray and former San Diego Chargers back Ryan Mathews decide to draft a running back as well. Both Murray and Mathews have a history of injuries, and the Eagles don’t want to have to rely on Darren Sproles running between the tackles if both Murray and Mathews go down again. Don’t be shocked if the Eagles spend a late round pick on a tailback in a draft that is very deep at the position.

 

Potential late-round targets:

 

Lynden Trail: It’s possible that Lynden Trail could have gone as high as the third round if not for off the field concerns, but if Philadelphia could land him in round 5 or 6, he makes a ton of sense. Trail opened some eyes at the Senior Bowl and showed some ability to cover and rush the passer from an outside linebacker position the Eagles will almost definitely address in the upcoming draft.

 

Charles Gaines: After the money the Eagles spent signing Byron Maxwell and Walter Thurmond III, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them wait until the middle to later rounds to draft a cornerback, and Louisville’s Charles Gaines would be a good fit in rounds three or four. Gaines has the speed to line up inside, and enough length to play on the outside, and as a former receiver, he has the ball skills that any coach covets in a defensive back.

 

Dominique Brown: If the Eagles do decide to add some depth to the running back position to guard against the possibility of injuries to Murray or Mathews, expect them to do it late. Dominque Brown would give the Eagles depth in the backfield, but also a bruising short yardage back that the team is currently lacking. Brown could see some snaps in short yardage situations for Philadelphia, and be solid insurance if their high priced, injury prone free agent backs get hurt again.

 

For the Eagles 2015 draft class to be a success, they need to find another wide receiver and a couple of playmakers on defense. If Philadelphia fails to land a premiere pass rusher or pass catcher in the draft, they’ll likely look back on this draft with frustration. The Eagles may need help at safety, but they’re unlikely to find it in this draft, as it is possibly the draft’s most shallow position. At the end of the day, the fact that we believe the Eagles could afford to add depth at the positions they spent a lot of money upgrading in the offseason (running back and corner) says a lot about their entire offseason plan.


About Pat Donovan

Pat Donovan

Pat Donovan has covered the NFL for almost a decade and is a host and producer for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers radio flagship 620WDAE/95.3FM. Pat covers the NFC South and NFC East for Football Insiders. Follow him on Twitter, @PatDonovanNFL.